Martyrology - 21st December
Upon the 21st day of December, were born into the better life:
Upon the Coromandel coast of India, not far from Madras, the blessed Apostle Thomas. He preached the Gospel to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, and Hyrcanians, and at length came into India, and was teaching the Christian religion to those people when the king commanded him to be run through with lances, and so he died. His relics were taken first to the city of Edessa and afterwards to Ortona.
In Tuscany, the holy martyrs John and Festus.
In Lycia, the holy martyr Themistocles. Under the Emperor Decius he gave himself up for holy Dioscorus, when they were seeking after him to slay him, and was first racked, taken down and dragged about, and beaten with cudgels, gained the crown of martyrdom (in the year 249.)
At Nicomedia, the holy Priest Glycerius, who suffered many torments in the persecution under the Emperor Diocletian, and was at length cast in the fire, and so finished his testimony.
At Antioch, the holy martyr Anastasius, Bishop (of that see,) who was cruelly murdered by the Jews in the time of the Emperor Phocas, (in the year 609.)
At Trier, the holy Confessor Severinus, Bishop (of that see, fourth century.)
And elsewhere many other Holy Martyrs, Confessors and Holy virgins.
R. Thanks be to God
O Antiphon - 21st December
O Rising Dawn, Radiance of the Light eternal and Sun of Justice: come, and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
Meditations - Wednesday in the Fourth Week of Advent:His Life as a Victim in Mary
Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation
We will consider tomorrow that the bosom of Mary is not only a temple wherein the Incarnate Word displays His zeal and pours out His soul in prayer, but that it is also an altar on which He immolates Himself. We shall therefore meditate: first, on the life which Jesus leads as a victim in the bosom of His mother; second, on the life which we ought to lead ourselves as victims. We will then make the resolution: first, to sanctify the day by frequent acts of love towards Jesus, our victim, in the bosom of Mary; second, to labour after our own spiritual amendment, by the sacrifice of our tastes and of our wills. Our spiritual nosegay shall be: “Jesus Christ hath loved us, and hath delivered Himself for us” (eph v:2).
Meditation for the Morning
Let us adore the Incarnate Word offering Himself to God His Father in the womb of Mary, as a victim upon the altar of sacrifice. Oh, how adorable is the victim! how amiable He is! The Father takes pleasure in Him (Mark i. n), the earth finds in Him its salvation, the angels the subject of great joy. Let us render our homage to so august a victim.
The Life of a Victim Led by the Incarnate Word in the Womb of Mary.
According to the testimony of St Paul (heb x:5), Jesus Christ from the moment of His entrance into the world said to His Father, “Sacrifice and oblation Thou wouldst not, but a body Thou hast given Me; I offer it to Thee and I offer it to replace the ancient sacrifices”. Let us respectfully consider this adorable victim in the womb of Mary, which was His first altar. How cheerfully He offers Himself to His Father to be our salvation and the price of our ransom. He takes upon Himself the heavy burden of our sins, of our ingratitude, of our cowardice, of our weaknesses; and in order to expiate them He submits Himself to nine months of imprisonment and discomfort, of humiliation, of poverty, and of suffering. O adorable victim of the sins of the world, how can we sufficiently bless and thank Thee? My heart melts with love at seeing Thee in this state labouring for my salvation: first, with so much promptitude: without an instant’s delay or inaction, Thou dost set Thyself to work from the first moment of Thy existence; second, with so much fervour: Thou dost there employ all Thy soul, Thou dost expend the whole of Thy body, all Thy strength, and Thou dost give to each one of Thy acts all the perfection possible; third, with so much constancy: not a moment’s relaxation or diminution in Thy zeal. Such as was the beginning of Thy life, such it will be to the end! Oh, how great reason had St Paul to exclaim, “We have not a High Priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities" (heb iv:15). Jesus pities us so much that, in order to save us, He gives us all that He has; He gives Himself wholly, and lives only to be our victim. O love, how admirable Thou art! how amiable! how can I help loving Thee a little!
All Christians are Called to Lead the Life of a Victim
We are all of us called to this life: first, because we ought all of us to imitate Jesus Christ: He is our model, we ought to be copies of Him we are Christians only on this condition. Second, because we have many sins to expiate and a great penance to perform. O days ill- employed! O years lost! how I regret you! O sins committed, how I deplore and detest you! It is, indeed, high time to begin for good and all to perform penance by the immolation of our whole self to Our Lord. Third, because if we have not courage to immolate our character to God with all its bursts of ill temper; our will with its caprices; the love of our own ease with that effeminacy of life which leads us to seek ourselves in everything, we shall infallibly fall again. The least difficulty will stop us; the least disgust will disconcert us, the least pleasure will lead us astray; inconstancy and frivolity will render our resolutions of no effect and the graces of God sterile. There is then no salvation for us, unless we lead the life of a victim; that is to say, of renunciation of ourselves, in order alone to follow the path of duty and that which we believe to be most agreeable to God. Let us have this courage, and we shall find in this practice consolation and sweetness, happiness in time and in eternity. .
Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.